Moments that aren’t your proudest as a Mammy? I’ve had a few of those. My most recent being the realisation that the only possible solution to my screaming toddler, in pain, grabbing his ear at 9pm on Sunday night was to shake that bottle of Calpol (like it was a polaroid picture) to get the remaining almost 3ml out of it and praying to all and any gods out there that it would ease his pain and that it wasn’t another blasted ear infection. I wouldn’t mind, but the chemist below my doctors knows us by name and I’ve a strong feeling would nominate me as customer of the month. But, in times of need (and after closing time of any shops or chemists that would sell infant painkillers) it seems that the mountain of bottles of Calpol or Nurofen that we’ve purchased over the last two years has vanished into thin air, leaving only the dregs at the bottom of one bottle, and thankfully (mercy of all mercies) one purple syringe to get the stuff into him.
Yes, it’s another ear infection.
I say another, because it’s only been two weeks since the last. My boy does it in style, never just the one ear, always both, and it’s rarely the ear that alerts us to this. No, he sounds like a 30 a day smoker in the two day run up to the doctors appointment which has, each time (bar one) said “Chest is perfect, but he’s in great form for someone with such red ears, he must be in a lot of pain”. He’s not even two yet and the amount of antibiotics he’s been on is approaching double digits. While this has become less traumatic since the recent revelation that if you mix it with Calpol it becomes less disgusting and can be marketed as “Yum yum medicine”, it’s still not ideal for my little man’s immune system. I’m afraid to google just how crap it is going to be on his gut and general health, because seriously, there is enough stuff out there to terrify you based on “recurrent ear infections” alone.
My GP wants us referred to an ENT to approach getting grommets fitted, to reduce his ear infections by draining fluid. While I’m thrilled at the thoughts of less horrific nights with a child in pain, crying and being unable to do anything about it, the thought of putting my little man under surgery terrifies me just a bit. As much as he’s getting big and independent, he’s still my small baby, still the tiny boy I brought into the world and have vowed to protect from all the horrible stuff out there. I had this procedure done myself as a child who was also ridiculously ear infection prone, as have other family members so I know it’s routine. I know it’s one of the most common procedures in paediatric care, that I have nothing to worry about. I also know that I’m extremely lucky to be able to use private health insurance to speed up the process, as doctors have advised me that to go publicly to see an ENT would take more than a year, possibly up to three years, just to be put on the list. To contrast that, I’ve been told that a private doctor consult AND the procedure would likely be done by the Summer. Our two tier healthcare system is truly worthy of despair, but I am lucky to be able to say that I’m on the end of it which can get my child seen sooner, to hopefully make this problem which makes him cry and wake at night in pain, leave him alone and let him get on with his childhood, hopefully close to ear infection free.
In the mean time, we continue to give the antibiotics, the pain medication, go through the sleepless nights and the bargaining with Cheerios and Netflix to get the child to calm down in order to start over. And continue our 4am vendetta to tell the ear infection to go and jump for itself.
Have you had experience with a child with grommets, or needing to see ENT for recurrent ear infections? I’d like to hear from other parents who have been through it so I can get a better picture of what is involved from the parent side of things, to hopefully allay my fears! Let me know in the comments or drop a mail to me, would be much appreciated!